If a recent trip to the dentist for a toothache – you assumed was a cavity – ended with the doctor recommending a root canal, you are not alone. More than 15 million root canal procedures are performed every year in the US. This treatment is so popular because it is often a way to save your natural tooth and prevent the need for an implant or bridge in the future.
But this news can still be frightening when you hear it because of the many misconceptions associated with the procedure. The more you know about this tooth-saving procedure and what it can do for your toothache and oral health, the calmer and more confident you will feel when you return to the dentist or endodontist’s chair
Myth #1: Root Canals are Painful
Per the American Association of Endodontists, the perception that root canal therapy is painful stems from early treatment methods used to perform the procedure. In addition, if you are suffering from pain on the day of your appointment, your apprehension and fear may heighten the sensations you feel during the procedure. But the fact is that root canals can be performed with little or no pain thanks to the advent of local anesthesia.
Myth #2: Root Canals are Only Necessary if Your Teeth Hurt
While many of us discover we need a root canal because of pain in our mouth, teeth that require root canal therapy are not always painful. If the tooth is already dead, there might not be any pain at all. (In fact, teeth that are already dead may require root canal therapy to prevent the tooth from becoming infected). Your dentist will examine your teeth thoroughly during your regular check-up. It is usually during this routine appointment where your dentist will discover a tooth that has died or is on its way.
Myth #3: Root Canal Treatment Causes Illness
According to experts, there is no valid scientific evidence that links root canal treated teeth to infection or disease anywhere else in the body. A root canal is a safe and effective tooth-saving procedure.
Myth #4: The Benefits of Root Canal Are Temporary
Root canal results are far from temporary. They relieve patients’ toothaches and preserve the affected tooth indefinitely. The final restoration or crown plays a key role in the successful results – as does good oral health and hygiene and regular visits to the dentist. Following these preventative oral hygiene guidelines can ensure the tooth lasts a lifetime.
Myth #5: Tooth extraction is a Good Alternative to Root Canals
There is no better replacement for a natural tooth. An extraction is a traumatic procedure that actually allows more bad bacteria to enter into the bloodstream. And even though precautions including antibiotic use are taken in these kinds of procedures, a root canal with a good restoration is not only more cost-effective, it allows you to keep your natural tooth. Bridges, implants, and other replacement alternatives require additional treatments, more time in the chair, and elevated cost. Now of course there are situations and cases when the dentist or specialist may recommend a tooth extraction as the only choice – but when a root canal is an option – take it.
Have any specific questions on root canal preparation? Scroll down and use the ask us section and we’ll be happy to answer.